“The Green Cockade”


In 1782 the Volunteers "won for Ireland full free trade" in return for Irish aid. In 1789 the Volunteers surrounded King William's statue "proclaiming Ireland should be free." But "the Irish divided, the English gained And Ireland once again was chained"


Moylan p. 1: "On St Patrick's Day, 1778, the first company of Belfast Volunteers was formed in response to the danger of a possible war between Britain and France. [According to Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry, _A History of Ireland_, p. 186, the year was 1777, though few other companies formed until 1778.] The movement spread like wildfire and soon there were companies in all parts of Ireland. At their height they numbered 100,000 members. By the following year they had become politicized and swung their weight behind the so-called Patriot Party, those in favour of legislative independence from the British parliament and the removal of impediments to Irish commerce."

[Moylan lists the following] Irish Volunteer Society protests

February 15, 1782 - Volunteer Convention in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone

September 8, 1783 - Volunteer Convention in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone

November 4, 1779 - Volunteers parade at "the site, at the time, of an equestrian statue of King William. They had signs fixed to their cannon which read 'Free Trade or This'." - BS

For more on the Volunteers and their effect on Anglo-Irish relations, see the notes to "The Song of the Volunteers." The references to Irish unity accomplishing much are quite accurate; even before Grattan's Parliament (for which see "Ireland's Glory") gave Ireland a measure of independence, the Irish had shown that they could sometimes act on their own -- Mike Cronin, _A History of Ireland_, p. 94 writes that the Irish "could, when they operated as a single block, defeat the will of the British Parliament"; he notes on pp. 93-98 several instances of this in the period 1750-1780. But he also notes that they were usually not united, and when not united, the British could almost always manipulate the results to ther own ends. And then, of course, came 1798, and the whole thing fell down. - RBW

Cross references


  • Bodleian, 2806 b.9(266), "The Green Cockade," unknown, n.d.


  1. Moylan 4, "The Green Cockade" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, Moyl004


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1887 (Madden's _Literary Remains of the United Irishmen of 1798_, according to Moylan)